Austria top Group D after seeing off Netherlands in five-goal thriller

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Austria top Group D after seeing off Netherlands in five-goal thriller

Marcel Sabitzer scored the match winner for Austria in the 80th minute
Marcel Sabitzer scored the match winner for Austria in the 80th minuteAFP
For just the second time in their history, Austria qualified from the group stage of a UEFA European Championship after Ralf Rangnick’s men beat Netherlands 3-2 in Berlin, with a first win in eight meetings, securing second spot in Group D.

Despite both sides knowing that a draw would be enough for them both to progress to the Round of 16, there was an incredible intensity at the start of the game with a clear intent to try and win the match and possibly, the group. Austria had the better opening moments as their high press had the Dutch pinned in their own half. The danger for the Austrians was coming down the left flank in the early stages, with Alexander Prass whipping dangerous balls into the box. That method paid dividends, giving Austria the lead inside six minutes as Prass was released down the left and his ball into the box was diverted into his own net by Donyell Malen.

The first half became an end-to-end affair with both sides creating chances in an entertaining spectacle. Tijjani Reijnders and Malen both saw chances fly wide of the post for Netherlands before Marko Arnautovic failed to pounce on a loose ball in the box as Bart Verbruggen made a great recovery, smothering the striker and preventing his side from going into the break two goals down.

The high-intensity play continued after the restart but this time it was the Dutch with the early momentum and they also made their opponents pay as Xavi Simons carried the ball up the pitch and picked out Cody Gakpo, who took a touch before curling an inch-perfect finish into the far corner.

However, the early Dutch momentum was halted just before the hour mark after Florian Grillitsch’s lofted ball into the danger area was powered home by Romano Schmid to restore Austria’s lead.

Match stats
Match statsOpta by StatsPerform

Netherlands threw everything forward in an attempt to restore parity once again and did so when Memphis Depay struck with 15 minutes to go after taking a touch and volleying past Patrick Pentz, setting up a grandstand finish.

Memphis' goal sequence
Memphis' goal sequenceOpta by StatsPerform, AFP

Incredibly, Austria restored their lead again in the 80th minute after Christoph Baumgartner released Marcel Sabitzer, who had acres of space to power his shot into the roof of the net. Baumgartner then thought he squeezed in a fourth from an incredibly tight angle but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Austria weathered a late Dutch storm – holding on for a famous victory – combined with France’s draw against Poland, resulting in a first-place finish in Group D for Rangnick’s men, with a match against Group F’s runners-up awaiting them in the Round of 16. Meanwhile, a third-place finish for Netherlands gives Koeman’s men a potential heavyweight clash against England.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Marcel Sabitzer (Austria)

Check out all the match stats with Flashscore.

Final Group D standings
Final Group D standingsFlashscore

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